Liz Truss has been selected as the new Tory leader and by default the 56th British prime minister of the United Kingdom
Truss became United Kingdom’s 56th prime minister and the third female prime minister to lead the country.
This came after Boris Johnson was ousted by Conservative MPs earlier this summer.
With the energy crisis as a backdrop, possibly one of the worst crises to hit the UK, Europe and the world in modern history, the Tory leadership contest took place. Seemingly oblivious to the ongoing issues, this long-drawn-out battle was concluded Monday. Truss defeated Rishi Sunak with 81,326 members’ votes (57.4%) to her opponent’s 60,399 (42.6%), we are now a supposed democratic nation where less than 0.172% of the electorate has now voted in the UK’s prime minister.
The British Foreign Secretary Mary Elizabeth Truss, 47, will be appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by the Queen Today.
That’s the formal bit, now the business end.
Truss Has been described as many things, looking back on her political career all are true, she really has been many things. From a Lib Dem antimonarchist (That should at least give her something to chat about with the queen) to a Tory, from a traditional Tory supporting Remainer to a hard Brexiteer, from a Cameron acolyt to a staunch Boris Johnson supporter, she wore those personas well.
Truss is seen as a libertarian and loves low taxes and small states. She co-wrote ‘Britannia Unchained,’ a 2012 book by newly-elected Tory MPs pitched as a wake-up call for low-productivity Britain. It dubbed U.K. workers “among the worst idlers in the world,” and took a swipe at young people for being “more interested in football and pop music” than their Indian counterparts.
But for many pundits what comes next is guesswork. However, This Spanish Proverb will give us more understanding of Truss than any look back at her weathervane career: Díme con quién andas, diréte quién eres: Tell me your company and I’ll tell you who you are. That is, by the company you keep I can tell what life you lead, for birds of a feather flock together.
And it is that company that will dictate Britain’s immediate future, be careful what you wish for springs to mind.
While Rejoiners and Remainers rejoiced at the demise of Boris Johnson believing they had won some victory on Brexit the Truss has marched in with a single-mindedness that could result in the UK’s EU trade deal being ditched in the Channel
Truss has surrounded herself with hard Brexiteers and anyone remotely interested in international politics will see there is a fight ahead and that fight will be with the EU.
The EU has already put out veiled statements referencing the up-and-coming battles while diplomacy dictates, they have warmly congratulated Truss on her victory.
The EU urged Liz Truss to respect the Brexit agreement, as it called on the incoming British prime minister to take a broader view of Britain’s relationship with Europe.
The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, who is expected to speak to Truss by phone in the coming days, tweeted her congratulations, referring to common challenges, from climate change to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
She said: “I look forward to a constructive relationship, in full respect of our agreements.”
Maroš Šefčovič, the EU’s top official in charge of relations with the UK, said a positive relationship between the two was of great strategic importance. “I stand ready to work intensively and constructively with my new UK interlocutor to foster such a partnership, in full respect of our agreements.”
A trade war with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol is the “last thing” Britain needs during the cost of living crisis, the senior Irish government minister warned Liz Truss.
Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney urged Truss to consider the consequences of her plan to override the Northern Ireland protocol.
Mr Coveney said the UK and EU could still achieve a “sensible compromise” if the incoming PM softens her approach on the contentious post-Brexit trading arrangements.
But for many who are said to be candidates to sit on Truss’s new cabinet, are single-minded in bringing about changes to the unworkable Northern Ireland Protocol.
Truss has angered the EU by tabling legislation that would unilaterally scrap the arrangements that have created checks on goods moving from GB to NI.
Referencing the prospect of retaliatory action by the EU, Mr Coveney told RTE: “I think the last thing Britain wants and needs, and certainly Ireland wants and needs – and it’s the same across the EU – is a trade war between the EU and the UK.”
Mr Coveney added: “That can be avoided. We all know that. There is a deal to be done here through sensible politics and pragmatism, we know what it looks like, in my view.”
The EU Commission has insisted such that Ms Truss’ legislation move would breach international law. There has also been speculation that she may move to suspend the protocol within days by triggering Article 16.
However, Mr Coveney said he did not think that Ms Truss would trigger Article 16, and said he still hoped her premiership could herald a “change in direction” for UK-Irish relations.
Enacting the long-threatened Article 16 would mark an escalation in tensions between the UK and European Union, but at least an incremental one. However, Truss has a more indiscriminate weapon in the works too, in the form of legislation that unilaterally overrides parts of the Protocol itself. Its ostensible purpose, beyond throwing red meat to hardline Brexit supporters, is to force Europe to make concessions and end the Democratic Unionist Party’s boycott of power-sharing in Northern Ireland, which undermines governance and political stability there. But while the DUP might be appeased, passing the bill would be a big middle finger to Brussels.
Behind the scenes, EU officials have low expectations of an improvement in relations with Truss, the architect of a bill to override key aspects of the Northern Ireland protocol, which could lead to a trade war.
“The wish on this side is for things to improve, for there to be a more constructive relationship, but I don’t think anybody is holding their breath,” an EU diplomat said.
The diplomat suggested that Truss’s reliance on Eurosceptic MPs in the Conservative parliamentary party did not bode well for her ability to strike compromises. They added: “Looking at where Liz Truss got her support I don’t really expect her to have that much room for manoeuvre. But I would gladly be proved wrong.”
However, that is very doubtful, if anything Truss’s new cabinet is a Tea Party in the Boston Tea Party sense, we can see by those she is appointing round her there will be total independence from the EU, Truss will end up bringing about a clean break either by design or accident.
Truss’s modus operandi has been to speak bluntly, take maximalist positions and play to her base (as she did recently in declaring the jury was out on whether French President Emmanuel Macron is friend or foe). That approach may titillate her supporters and distract some from the rising costs of living — but it’s likely to backfire. Her tone will be as closely watched as the policy itself once she takes office.
If Remainers and Rejoiners thought Brexit was done then be prepared to feel the earth move once again, it’s only just begun.